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Can You Stain MDF Board? All You Need To Know

Flat-pack furniture from MDF has risen in popularity in recent years because of its affordability. Can you stain MDF board? This is the most wanted answer when anyone needs a change in their coffee table, chairs, or any other item from MDF. We are going to describe the fact in this article. 

MDF or Medium Density Fibreboard is made up of leftover wooden particles in the manufacturing processes of softwood that are mixed with a kind of wax and resin. High-pressure states and high temperatures are used in this process. The being a cheaper material than other furniture-making materials, vulnerability, hardness, fire resistance, and smooth surfaces are some of the unique characteristics that have made them widely used. But all these compatibilities come with some disadvantages too. For instance, the non-waterproof quality is a main con. But there is a moisture resistance type available in the market. MDF’s quality of non-chipping has made them an easy-to-handle material in making these interior structures.  

Can You Stain MDF Board?

MDF boards have a wide variety of uses. Other than the furniture, some use it as flooring, pantries and working tops, etc. But the main problem is the lack of a waterproof feature. 

Can you stain MDF board? This is the next question we get in order to make our furniture or structures from MDF last for a long time without swelling or damage. We know that in woods, stains are used to improve the quality of the material and seal the spaces of the surface to act as a layer for waterproofing. Just like that, you can also use stain on the MDF board to acquire the same quality of repelling water and not being damaged with moisture over time. 

What Happens If you Stain MDF?

If you use a dark color stain, the appearance will be changed, giving a wood-like vibe. As the surface is well-smoothened, applying will be no trouble. You can increase the durability of the item by staining. 

But we cannot expect the same quality we see in a natural wooden item after staining on this occasion. This is because MDF is a poor absorbent, and it does not contact well with the stain. On the other hand, the shining polished look of MDF will not last any longer than it was before applying the stain. 

How to Stain MDF Furniture?

Staining MDF furniture could be done as a DIY project. Do have a look at the guide we have given here to catch up on every tip you need to know before starting the task.

Collecting the Required Things 

  • When choosing a stain that is suitable for the original color of the MDF surface, you can take a small piece from the leftover boards to the hardware or the supermarket. 
  • You will also need to purchase some sandpaper, a chemical stripper, a scrapper tool, a chip brush, and a varnish to seal the treated surface. 
  • There is a need for safety precautions in this project. Therefore, take a pair of work gloves, goggles, and a face mask too. 
  • You will have to rent an electric sander, and this will cost you around 13$ every 4 hours. Using an electric sander is a better way to reduce the amount of dust particles entering the atmosphere and the surrounding. 
  • Find a rug and a drop cloth too. 


  • First of all, you have to prepare the workplace in order to get proper ventilation because you must avoid entering the disease-causing MDF dust into your respiratory system. If you are doing this project inside your house, you can open all the windows and turn on the fans and blowers. To avoid the contamination of dust with the other areas or the floor, you can cover those using a drop cloth. 

If possible, arrange your project outdoors. 

  • Now you need to wear the safety kit and start the process by removing the old paint, varnish, or wax applied on the MDF surface. Take the chemical stripper, apply a layer on the required surface, and set it aside until it passes the recommended time on the product label. Then you can use the scrapper can remove the old layer of the application. You will need not use the chemical peeling multiple time as MDF does not absorb paint as natural wood does. 
  • Now you have to keep waiting until it is completely dry. Then the sanding begins. You can use 120-grit sandpaper first, then continue with 150-grit sandpaper. Use a 180-grit sanding pad if you are using the electric sander for a flawless outcome. 
  • At the end of the sanding, you should clean the surface. Use the rug you took for this task. Before going to the next stage, ensure all the dust and scraps are gone.
  • After the complete cleaning, you are now ready to apply the new stain. Take the brush and apply the stain evenly all over the area. If you are using a regular stain, a lint-free cloth would be a better option as it allows you to easily control the amount of stain. The specialists recommend a solvent-based stain in these DIYs because of the nature of regular spreading in every direction. 
  • Once the first coat is completely dry, go for the second coat. So on, apply several coats until it gives the preferred color and the finishing. But do not forget to wait until each layer is dry before going for the next. For regular stains, an hour would be enough. But gel-based stain coats require approximately 6-8 hours.  
  • This is not enough if you want to keep the color for a considerable time. The sealant becomes the option you have in this kind of instance. The sealant gives an easier cleaning too. Apply the sealant; if needed, you can go for a second coat. But here, too, you need to keep on your patience waiting until the first sealant coat is well-dried. Usually, it takes somewhere between 2-4 hours. Make sure the final stain layer is in a completely dry state before starting with the sealant.


Can you stain MDF board? This article will clarify all your doubts on this question. We have also given a complete guide to the project here.  

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